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On 7/22, I received an offer for a role as junior QA analyst by a company that I'm very interested in. Before listing the offer details, the CTO wrote, "This isn't a formal offer but would you be interested in this" and then listed the offer.

The perks (insurance, PTO, etc.) are average; the salary is less than I expected at $45K in a town that is 21% above the average national cost of living. Even though this is a company that I really want to work for, in a town that I love, I figured that I should probably negotiate because:

  • $45K seems pretty low (it's less than what I make now in my job out of college)
  • I have about 2+ years of professional dev experience (including internships)
  • There is a $61K offer from another company on the table
  • Many of the top The Workplace posts suggest always negotiating a new salary
  • The fact that the CTO wrote that it's not an official "formal offer" kind of felt like he was implying there is room to discuss the offer

  • Our last discussion before the offer email included him ending the call with, "We'll send you an offer with something and figure out what we can do to make this work."

So once I recieved the email that Friday, I took the weekend to think it over (figured work-related emails often get ignored on non-business days anyways) and replied on Sunday night (7/24).

In my email, I thanked them for their time, mentioned how great the interview process has been (which it truly was), how much I admire the company, and then went into the counteroffer. I, optimistically/respectfully, mentioned that the current offer was less than I currently make and that, additionally, I've been offered $53K elsewhere. Yes, I lied about the amount but that's because I figured if I told them that I was offered $61K, they'd probably run for the hills. Call me naive or dumb, but I genuinely would rather live/work in this town and for this company at around $50K than for $61K at the other company. I then concluded with, "I'll do what it takes to reach a mutual agreement and also will be frequently checking my inbox so that my response is swift!" A swift response, I felt, is necessary; the informal offer had stated that they want me to start ASAP which is August 10th.

The CTO, who I interviewed with in this company of ~30 employees, knows that I'll be out of state for six days from now until the perspective date of employment. This means I don't exactly have a lot of time to relocate three hours away if they send me a "formal" offer. So, while I know it's not been 72-hours since I sent my counteroffer, is it a bad sign if I haven't received a reply yet? The CTO has been extremely pleasent and respectful thus far so I have no reason to suspect that they'd just drop the ball on me and leave me without a reply, but the clock is ticking (and another company waiting on my response).

Should I wait it out a little longer or send a poke email?

marked as duplicate by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Michael Grubey, gnat, mhoran_psprep, jcmeloni Jul 28 '16 at 12:17

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  • When do you have to make a response to the other offer on the table? – JasonJ Jul 27 '16 at 18:40
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Should I wait it out a little longer or send a poke email?

Most folks feel like it's best to wait a week before sending a "poke" email.

All the signals from the CTO show willingness to negotiate. But sometimes these things take time. Just wait a while.

Yes, I lied about the amount but that's because I figured if I told them that I was offered $61K, they'd probably run for the hills. Call me naive or dumb, but I genuinely would rather live/work in this town and for this company at around $50K than for $61K at the other company.

Yeah, that was kind of a mistake.

You could instead have simply stated something like "My current job is at a higher salary than what you are offering. And I have another offer on the table for significantly more than what you are offering. While I really like what I see about your company and job, and I''m eager to work with you, I feel like we need to discuss a higher salary."

That way, you haven't given them a $53k "anchor" from which they can counter-offer. (Imagine them thinking "we'll split the difference" then offering you $49k) And you haven't lied.

But that's done. Now it's time to be a bit more patient and get straight in your own mind exactly what you would accept, what you wouldn't, and if you are willing to turn down the $61k offer in hopes of landing this one or not.

This means I don't exactly have a lot of time to relocate three hours away if they send me a "formal" offer.

It's perfectly reasonable to negotiate a later start date that will give you time to relocate, particularly given the delay caused by the back and forth salary negotiation.

When I'm hiring, the start date is easily the most flexible part of the offer.

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    Mentioning a figure can accelerate the process however. If they took a week to come back with a figure of 46K, for example, sending them a counter offer would greatly delay things. This way they at least know they shouldn't bother offering the OP anything under 50K. – AndreiROM Jul 27 '16 at 19:21
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Money decisions can take a while to reach a consensus on. It could be that a counter-offer is still being discussed by their management.

That being said, you should probably write to them Thursday morning asking whether they have a reply for you.

If they don't reply by Thursday afternoon you should consider accepting the other company's offer on Friday, or Monday at the latest.

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I would check in and see if there is any additional information that you can provide and remind them that you will be out of town.

"Mr. CTO of Bigcorp

I wanted to follow up on my email from Monday responding to your email from Friday. As I wrote, for the role we discussed I was expecting a salary closer to $53K and a pony ride every other Tuesday, which is the same I received in a offer from another company for a similar role. Please let me know what you think and if there is any additional information I can provide. I will be on vacation from this day to that, so if possible I would like to work this out with you by X date so that I am able to start as needed on August 10th. "

Or something like that.

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    Maybe you're not aware, but the industry standard is a pony ride every other Tuesday, and the first Friday of every month. You're selling yourself way short, my friend. – AndreiROM Jul 27 '16 at 19:18

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